College partnership tackles ESOL apprenticeship gap

As Scottish Apprenticeship Week gets underway, City of Glasgow College is working with GTG/Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd and Skills Development Scotland to create a route into Modern Apprenticeships for ESOL students.

The new pathway follows a Scottish Government initiative to increase the number of black and minority ethnic people in the modern apprenticeship system.

Funding has been secured to support an initial two-day training course in March. Jointly delivered by the college and Arnold Clark the programme will see ESOL students undertake an introduction to vehicle technician.

David Cullen, Associate Dean, Languages and ESOL, City of Glasgow College, said:

“This pathway is an excellent example of collaboration between the third sector, industry and the government, and our students stand to gain a great deal. It is the first initiative of its type that will specifically give ESOL students an understanding of the Modern Apprenticeship system and what the qualifications look like.”

Shukriya Addow, Equality Executive at Skills Development Scotland, said:

“People from minority ethnic backgrounds, especially those with English as an additional language, face extra barriers to get into apprenticeships and employment in general. 

“This project offers a great opportunity to raise awareness of apprenticeships and help ESOL students find out more about job opportunities within Arnold Clark. It also represents an excellent example of the type of project partnerships we are looking to be involved in to support the underrepresented groups to have full access to Modern Apprenticeships. I really look forward to the two-day training course in March and hopefully we will be able to replicate this project in other areas in Scotland.”

ESOL students recently gained hands-on experience with Arnold Clark’s mobile workshop van when it parked for a day at the college’s City campus. The van is equipped to test potential trainees’ hand and eye coordination as well as their knowledge of cars and engines. 

Pam Turnbull, ESOL lecturer at City of Glasgow College and very active in ESOL employability, said:

“The mobile van gave our students a taste of what working as a vehicle technician would involve in a fun environment. It was an excellent way to show them what the two day introductory course will involve.”

Suzanne Sherry, Early Careers Manager with GTG/Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd, said:

“We were delighted to be at City of Glasgow College and to engage with the ESOL students in our interactive apprenticeship vehicle. We are grateful for the opportunity to promote what Arnold Clark has to offer within the automotive industry to such passionate students who were open to trying all the activities on board.”

City of Glasgow College currently delivers almost 600 apprenticeships across key industry sectors. These include hairdressing and barbering, procurement, creative and cultural skills, digital and ICT, health and social care as well as maritime deck ratings and engine ratings.

The majority of the Modern Apprenticeships contain an element of on and off-the-job training and assessment resulting in industry-recognised qualifications and practical workplace skills.